1921 - Rodney Dangerfield was born on November 22nd. 1940 - His father was a vaudeville pantomimist who was known professionally as Phil Roy, thus when Dangerfield struck out on his own stand-up comedy career at age 19 (he'd been writing jokes for other comics since 15), he called himself Jack Roy. 1949 - He labored in some of the worst clubs on the East Coast, giving it all up at age 28 in order to support his new wife. 1963 the comic returned to performing, using the name "Rodney Dangerfield" to distance himself from his miserable "Jack Roy" days. 1967 - Four more years passed before Dangerfield finally got his big break on The Ed Sullivan Show, for which he'd auditioned by sneaking in during a dress rehearsal. 1969 - Dangerfield opened his own nightclub, where many major comics of the 1970s and 1980s got their first opportunities; fiercely competitive onstage, Dangerfield is known to be more than generous to new talent offstage. 1970 - His turn as a nasty theatre manager in the low-budgeter "The Projectionist", Dangerfield has exuded a movie image somewhat different than his paranoid nightclub character; he often plays a crude-and-rude "nouveau riche" type who delights in puncturing the pomposity of his "old money" opponents (Caddyshack). 1985 - Rodney Dangerfield's best screen role was, significantly, his nicest--in "Back to School", he played a blunt but decent self-made millionaire who decides to join his son in getting an expensive college education. 2004 - He died on October 5th.
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